P h o t o B l o g

Monday, 4 June 2012

Whit Friday Band Contests

Last Friday was "Whit Friday" (the Friday that follows Whit Sunday), a day that people from elsewhere may not have heard of, but which is traditionally a local holiday in some northern towns. The traditions are still strong in Mossley and Saddleworth, with the traditional Whit Walks taking place in the morning and the brass band contests taking place in the late afternoon and evening.

The band contests are also held in Ashton (outside the Broadoak Hotel and at Ashton United football ground) as well as in nearby towns such as Dukinfield, Stalybridge and Droylsden. The contests are held in a number of the villages in the Saddleworth area, too, and brass bands from around the country, and even from overseas, tour round in coaches trying to play at as many contests as they can in the time.

This photo above shown a band that is close to home - Mossley Band playing at the Upper Mossley contest, with a backdrop of the Pennine hills. After playing as they marched along Market Street, the band played a test piece in the arena before jumping into their coach to play at other locations.

Each band might get around to 10 or 12 contests in the evening and each venue attracts something like 40 bands, with some of the more popular venues seeing considerably more. Towards the end of the evening the bands end up marching and playing in the dark, although the arena is lit up by floodlights.

The contest circuit is unique to this area and is a special event enjoyed by large numbers of local people as well as visitors from far and wide.

"Whit Friday Band Contests" is my contribution to this week's "My World" feature. Please check out the other blogs participating in this week's My World.


  1. Love brass bands!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

  2. I remember watching the whit Monday walks in Manchester as a child. I didn't know the tradition still continues today.wal


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